PM Mikati says Lebanon at war amid Israel-Hezbollah clashes

Lebanese caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati was touring southern Lebanon [Getty]

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister has said that his country is in a state of war as nine months of clashes between Israel and Hezbollah heighten fears of an Israeli invasion of the country.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati made the statement during a visit to southern Lebanon on Saturday, where he said he hoped that the war will not expand, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

“We are always advocates of peace, and our choice is peace and the implementation of Resolution 1701. Israel must stop its repeated attacks on Lebanon, and stop the war in Gaza, and everyone must implement International Resolution No. 2735,” he said.

UN Resolution 1701, which ended Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, called for the cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel and the withdrawal of Hezbollah to north of the Litani river and of Israel from Lebanon.

UN Resolution 2735 called for the implementation of a three-stage ceasefire in Gaza, the exchange of hostages and emphasises the need for a two-state solution.

“We are with our people. The resistance is doing its duty, the Lebanese government is doing its duty, and our goal is to protect the country in every sense of the word,” Mikati added.

His statements come as the specter of an Israeli invasion heightens, after an increase in the intensity of clashes between Israel and Hezbollah, as well as rhetoric from the two sides. The Israeli army has said it has approved plans for an invasion of Lebanon if requested.

According to the Times of Israel, citing Hebrew media, two northern hospitals are on heightened alert over a potential breakout of war between Israel and Hezbollah.

The Directors of Galilee Medical Center and Ziv Hospital say they have increased the level of supplies at a hospital, with Ziv Hospital requesting staff to prepare to stay at hospitals for an extended duration.

“The level of readiness required from us has been high for almost nine months, but now it seems we will need to elevate it further,” Masad Barhoum of the Galilee Medical Center was quoted as saying.

An increasing number of countries have also warned their citizens to leave Lebanon, including Ireland, Kuwait and Germany, with Canada and the US making evacuation preparations in the event of a war.

Clashes between Hezbollah and Israel have been ongoing since 8 October, following the outbreak of Israel’s latest war on Gaza.

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